First Presbyterian ChurchFirst Presbyterian Church
More than a year ago, session authorized the creation of our Welcoming Team which was charged with leading us through a journey toward becoming a fully welcoming and inclusive church. What a journey it has been. The Team began with an assessment of our church’s embodiment of welcome. Based on that assessment, we had a good idea of the work we needed to do.
We conducted One-to-One meetings with many of our members. We shared our stories of how we came to see the importance of fully including, welcoming, and celebrating LGBTQ people among us. With the excellent help of the Wellness Committee, we updated the signs for all of our restrooms. Policies have been reviewed and updated. Three Adult Seminars have been offered featuring presenters from the UP Center of Champaign County. Presenters shared their stories about struggling to be disciples of Jesus in churches that shamed them, condemned them, and rejected them. Jasmine Routon presented excellent information about sexual orientation and gender expression, and why it is so important that congregations take a very public stand in support of LGBTQ people and practice a celebratory welcome of all people.
The Welcoming Team stands ready now to take the final steps in the journey. First, we have drafted a statement which publicly declares our stand.
We believe God calls us into community. Since God does the inviting, we understand our role is to welcome with extravagant hospitality. Whatever your age, race, ethnicity, physical or mental ability, education, financial status, employment, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, there is a sacred space for you to participate fully in the life of the First Presbyterian Church of Urbana. All people are created in the image of God, and are worthy of full acceptance into the life of faith.